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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I've gone through A LOT of back protectors before finding one that I REALLY REALLY liked.

When I picked up my new bike D675 from OnCycles.com, I snagged two Knox back protectors: A RICOCHET and a CONTOUR RACE CAMO. They are blowing these out at 50% off so the total was about $250 for both--AMAZING deal. I immediately switched from my current Dainese to the Ricochet.

The Ricochet is VERY comfortable, probably the best fitting back protector I've ever worn. It has channels to let air flow between you and it. The CONTOUR is supposed to be their top-of-the line, but I'm not 100% used to it and it seems a bit wierd, I've not yet actually worn it. I loaded it to another racer at WERA SE regionals and he said he really liked it. I'll give it a try next set of races. The protection level on both is phenomenal and there's a very still but highly-viscous jelly-like quality to both. These are absolutely 100% TOP-KNOTCH kit. I wear these along with the Forcefield Chest Protector and feel extremely confident with the level of protection.

They're cool folks and giving out great deals, Alfred Kobacker--the owner/president is also an SPR rider.

Back protectors I'm comparing these against--In the past I've tried:

-- Dainese Plate -- Good but rigid and not much padding.
-- Bohn Pro Racer -- WIERD FIT, and not rigid protection, ok-ish.
-- Knox Stowaway -- NICE, good cooling if soaked on a hot day, but not rigid and only CE rated.
-- Alien Plate -- Kinda' generic...

I wear an EVS BJ-22 for dirt riding:

http://www.motoworldracing.com/media/EVS/evs-05-bj2.jpg
 

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So here's my concern and questions...my Alpinstar suit is already kind of snug (this is what happens with age...the belly expands in spite of best efforts at diet and exercise). I never used a back protector when I raced in the 70's (protective gear was very different from today). I don't race now... and have not been required to have a separate back protector yet.

Am I going to be able to zip up my leathers if I strap one of these things on? or will I be looking at new suit in a larger size? I presume it will probably have to be expensive custom build instead of off the rack? Do I really need one of these for casual track days?
 

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I've no doubt a back protector is ultimately a good thing to wear, however I bought a Knox protector a couple of years ago. Wore it twice and found it so uncomfortable I sold it again. As I said, I still think they are a good idea, reducing the chances of your ending up in a wheelchair after an accident,:( but for me personally I couldn't wear one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
So here's my concern and questions...my Alpinstar suit is already kind of snug (this is what happens with age...the belly expands in spite of best efforts at diet and exercise). I never used a back protector when I raced in the 70's (protective gear was very different from today). I don't race now... and have not been required to have a separate back protector yet.

Am I going to be able to zip up my leathers if I strap one of these things on? or will I be looking at new suit in a larger size? I presume it will probably have to be expensive custom build instead of off the rack? Do I really need one of these for casual track days?
Hi Ed!

I had the same questions and like most people was compulsed into buying/wearing one initially. In my case it was because Cornerspeed reqiured a hard-shell back protector to guard against impalement hazards, pegs to the back, and other such... I wrote Aaron Stevenson asking if I could get around it and he sent me a 3+ page response which very diplomatically pointed out why I would be insane to ride the track without one and THEN ended with something to the effect of "you'll need it because it's mandatory"... Considering he's one of the race marshals for the USGP and a former national endurance champion--I opted not to question his judgement.

Speaking of Aaron--if you've never seen it, he's damn amazing--the guy rides VIR on his 996 turned around backwards pointing out the line LOOKING AT YOU while you're trucking full steam...

The back protectors are pretty thin, really, the Dainese are probably the thinnest, and what I wore for a few years. I tried the Bohn pro and was never able to get it to feel right under my leathers, much like your concern. The RICOCHET seems to have the best characteristics of the Dainese, while offering substantially more protection. They're for the most part pretty cheap, chances are, your leathers already have a crappy CE spine pad in the back, those are usually removable. I got the Knox for 1/2 off at OnCycles... You can also find sometimes find deals on eBay, I've never heard of anyone getting a custom back protector. Custom leathers frequently...

I've seen plent of guys go down hard--one guy flicked across the chicanes on VIR patriot course like a bug, I had to ride through that mess with him flying 40 feet on to the racing line while his bike blew through cartwheeling matrix style shedding titanium and fairing plastic as it bounced. He was OK, even though I saw him land SMACK on is back after being flung that distance. I've never heard anyone complain about wearing a back protector...

I also do a lot of riding around Atlanta, commuting and such, and given the way the idiots drive around here, I would put a cinder-block wall on if they could make one that was wearable...

Another thing to consider is single vs multi-impact back protectors. Dainese started this a few years back. They made this back protector "the wave" that looks like an air-conditioning filter inside... It's supposed to do a lot to absorb impact, but it's single use--crash in it and like a helment, it gets "spent" in the impact. The Dainsee plate and the Knox Ricochet are multi use, they are a mixture of hard and squishy with little memory. Crash and like a superball they'll boucne back. The Knox Contour is supposed to be similar to the D-Wave in that respect.

STT was saying last year that they were going to start requiring chest protectors in addition to back protectors after the poor fellow died going off entering the front straight at Roebling Road their first event last year. As a result I picked one up at Laguna Seca last year--A Forcefield. After years of track riding with no thought of a chest protector, I now feel naked it I don't have that damn thing on!

Hope this is useful!

Cheers,
Jason
 
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